The horrid quarter system (10 weeks of instruction followed by 1 week of finals) doesn’t really allow time for the traditional “dead week” of no classes and no assignments so that students can study for finals; however, for some instructors, we do have the lovely hiatus I’m called “dead weekend”: the weekend before finals week when advanced composition students are frantically revising research papers (I spent dozens of hours reviewing the drafts last weekend) and where my online introduction to fiction students are taking their “take home” short essay finals.
So what did I do during my dead weekend?
I must say, it was divinely decadent.
- I chatted with students on the last day of classes who thanked me for my speech to honors students last weekend: I decided to go the personal/inspirational route. And, taking advice from Ink, my metaphor was: doing well academically is like training for the half marathon. I also referred to David Wallace Foster’s “what the hell is water?” parable. It was a speech chock-filled with imagery (and the obligatory “always wear sunscreen” reference got the chuckle I hoped for).
- I went out Friday night with colleagues and friends to celebrate the end of one friend’s rotation as chair of a department. We ate, drank and talked outside in the evening sun—something we rarely do when classes are in session. Decided we needed a faculty lounge on (our dry, alas) campus.
- I leisurely ran my favorite trail along the river laughing to “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and admiring the wildflowers in bloom.
- I went to a birthday bbq the next night, sitting outside by the fire pit, nibbling on those yummy chicken sausages and chatting about summer plans (reading, writing, running, the 3Rs, as well as socializing and travelling).
- I ran a 5K race on Sunday morning, and ran a personal best of 26:06: I came in 137th out of over 700 runners. The half marathon I’ve been training for is next Sunday and I now feel great confidence that I can not just complete it, but complete it well.
- I worked in my garden: I now have several pots filled with soon to be blooming flowers.
- I finished watching season 1 of “In Treatment”—the HBO series starring the studly Gabriel Byrne that has me oddly hooked. I’ve had a few sessions of therapy, enough to know that this tv show is a wild exaggeration of what is probably mostly skimming on unethical therapy in real life, but ooh, what great drama it is. Of course, the drama in Paul’s personal life (Bryne’s character) is the most intriguing.
- Pondered (well, started to ponder) the definition of “happiness” as a result of Ph.D. Me’s posting on Friday.
- I finished reading Elizabeth Strout’s amazing novel Olive Kitteridge and had a sudden flash of an idea for a project I’d like to work on this summer as a result of the MLA’s new discussion group on Age Studies.
Today is Monday and finals week has begun: I’ll receive nearly 40 research papers today, the other 50+ written assignments later this week. One student, who handed in her essay this morning, needs to return to her home country immediately to get her mother out of a war zone where her uncle was just tortured and killed.
Dead weekend is over.